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Our own land has recently witnessed the singular spectacle of Jews dictating to a Christian people, how the children of that people should be educated; and forbidding to teach, or even name, Jesus Christ in the public schools. Meanwhile, the Protestant church, especially in Great Britain, is putting forth fresh energies, in widely extended missionary enterprises, to win Israel to the acknowledgment of her Messiah, still looked for, though long since come, perseveringly rejected, yet the object of her fondest hopes.

For the mere historian or ethnographer, for the philanthropist, for any man of reflection and sensibility, the history and present condition of the Jews offer points of extraordinary, even of unparalleled, attraction. Their history is a history, if not of miracles, at least of well authenticated wonders. Their sacred books, if not inspired, certainly far surpass all other compositions of the ages which produced them, in the verisimilitude of what, unless divinely communicated, must be fictitious; in the purity and sublimity of their moral and theological conceptions; in the correspondence of parts written at such widely separated periods, in divers countries, and by various men; in the consistency of the whole with the subsequent progress of science and discovery; and in their wonderful fitness, both intrinsically and by external evidence, to exert a mighty influence over the faith and practice of mankind. The sufferings of the Jews whether the "wringing out of the dregs of a cup of trembling" from Jehovah, or not have far exceeded all other experience, and the common measure of human endurance. Of continued distinct existence like theirs, in spite of a thousand efforts of self-styled Christians and of infidels, leagued together in the plenitude of earthly power to amalgamate Jew and Gentile, or to root the former out, no other example can be found, except in miniature in their own early history, when, under Egyptian taskmasters, "the more they were afflicted, the more they grew and multiplied." For continuous ages, like the bush of Horeb, they have burned with fire and have not been consumed." Whether the writings, to which both Jews and Christians now point as prophecies yet to be fulfilled, can be trusted as a picture of coming times, or not, certainly no one tolerably acquainted with their religious lore, and associating with them in the common intercourse of life, can fail to catch something of


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their spirit of anticipation, and to watch with interest and awe the further developments of the Jews' strange history.

But religious belief the Jewish, even, and much more the Christian-heightens immeasurably-the importance and the attractiveness of this wonderful theme. To the confiding student of the Bible, the Jews assume high dignity, and challenge earnest attention, as God's chosen, covenant people; as the descendants of holy patriarchs, to whom Jehovah spake "face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend"; as a nation long visibly led and governed, upheld, protected, and punished, by an almighty hand; as a people whose ancient history, recorded by inspiration, expressly and clearly shows what all uninspired annals leave to be faintly and uncertainly traced out by the dim light of human reason

the connection between every outward event and an unseen Providence; as the special depositaries of divine communications intended for all times and every people; as that race, "of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came," and who, although they rejected and crucified the Saviour of the world, are themselves rejected and outcast, "scattered among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other," "to be a reproach and a proverb, a taunt and a curse, in all places" of their sojourn; as still beloved of God in his covenant faithfulness, and "for the fathers' sake"; as still inheriting the prophetic benediction, "Cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee"; as yet to be "grafted again into their own olive-tree," the church of God; and, as many believe, to be restored to that goodly land which was confirmed to them by oath before they were a nation; which was taken from its original possessors to be given to them, when they were homeless pilgrims; which is still theirs, twice exiled from it as they have been, now for nearly eighteen hundred years, and wonderfully kept from permanent occupation by any Gentile people;-in a word, as the standing miracle of modern times, changing in themselves nature's most firmly established laws, without interfering with the harmony that everywhere else prevails in convincing contrast. Such are the Jews in the eye of Christian faith.

The first great fact which strikes the observer of this people, in their present state, is their dispersion throughout the world, while they are still a separate race, excepting

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where, at the confines of their channel, they mingle enough with the surrounding waters to manifest that tendency to amalgamation, which characterizes all human kind, and in them is overborne only by some mysterious power opposing the diffusive force of the natural current. The narrative of their dispersion is necessarily involved at many points in great obscurity, which Jewish superstition and fondness for traditionary lore have served in no small degree to thicken. The agricultural life of the early Hebrews, as well as all the Mosaic institutions, opposed their mingling freely with other nations; but it is not unlikely, that, in the days of King Solomon, many of them settled in Egypt. He "made affinity with Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and took Pharaoh's daughter to wife." Long amity between the two nations succeeded this alliance; and Egypt became at length the resort of the Hebrews, for aid against their public enemies, and as an asylum from public and private dangers.

It is not necessary to give even a brief summary of the events recorded in Scripture, such as the Babylonish captivity, or of those narrated by profane historians, such as the conquests of Alexander the Great and the wars of his immediate successors, which tended to scatter many of the Jews among all the countries of the known world, even while the body of the nation still retained a distinct existence in Palestine. We can cast only a passing glance on the history of their dispersion since the commencement of the Christian era.


The government of the Idumean princes, beginning with that monster of cruelty, Herod the Great, was a fitting introduction to the drama which had its catastrophe in the utter destruction of Jerusalem and the final ruin of the nation. While the sword of persecution scattered abroad multitudes of Christian converts, who went everywhere preaching the word," cruel tyranny and civil discord must have driven from Palestine many who were still Jews. When, at length, oppressed by Roman procurators, and denied the freedom of religious worship, the infuriated people rose in desperate revolt; when, beleaguered by a merciless foe, whose progress to her walls had been marked by scenes of carnage that added new horrors even to Roman warfare, the Holy City was convulsed by intestine factions; when rapine and butchery within the gates were the ordinary inter

ludes of sanguinary conflict without; when, under the name of" Saviours," desperate brigands held the city in posses sion; all who were free to go, except the deluded, the stupefied, the maddened, the plunderers, or such as delighted in scenes of violence and blood, must have fled far from the devoted precincts by every offered door of escape. Before Jerusalem was invested, multitudes, made prisoners in various parts of the Holy Land by Vespasian and Titus, were sold into slavery. Still greater numbers avoided captivity and the sword by flight. Upon the destruction of the city, seventy-seven thousand were driven away into degrading servitude, or sent to fight as gladiators in the different provinces of the empire. The fall of Jerusalem and the cruel fate of its inhabitants were a signal for the persecution and massacre of their countrymen in many Eastern cities. The Greeks and Syrians everywhere conspired against them, as a common enemy; and within the next century, beginning with the reign of Trajan, these cruelties occasioned several revolts of the Jews, attended at times with great success against their enemies, but uniformly ending in overwhelming disaster to themselves. The accounts given of the numbers slain are almost incredible; and the slavemarts of the empire were glutted with the wretched captives, doubtless of little estimation in the market, so numerous were they, and so intractable to Gentile masters.

The eastern countries of Europe probably received their earliest Hebrew settlers as voluntary emigrants from Asia, before the subjugation of Judea by the Romans. At an equally early period, Western Europe may have received a few of the same character, through Africa and Spain, and by other routes. Some, no doubt, fled far to the West, both by sea and land, to find refuge from the horrors that thickened upon them in their own country and in many other parts of the East, after the time of the Roman invasion. But the captives known to have been transported to the occidental parts of the empire, and to Italy in particular, by Pompey, Vespasian, Titus, and Hadrian, were numerous enough to establish the race in all the West. It has been a common artifice with the Jewish historians, to date the settlement of their people in Christian countries at a very early period, — from the time even of Solomon or the Babylonish captivity, in order to make it appear, that they had nothing to do with the

crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and so to escape odium and persecution. Thus, the Spanish rabbins, deprecating the intolerance of Ferdinand the Catholic and his clergy, asserted, that the Jews established a colony in Andalusia during Solomon's reign; and that Spain became tributary to that monarch, and furnished the treasures with which he built the temple. Similar pretensions are made by the Jews in Germany and elsewhere; and those of Worms actually obtained extraordinary privileges, under the pretence that their Sanhedrim wrote to the king of Judea, dissuading him from putting Christ to death. It is certain, that there were Jews in Treves and Cologne as early as the reign of Hadrian; yet, during several succeeding centuries, their number in the whole of Germany, which was peopled by tribes still barbarous, was quite small. Mohammedan persecution in the East drove multitudes of them thence, in the tenth and eleventh centuries, who joined their countrymen in Germany, Hungary, and Poland, where they are now more numerous than in any other states of Europe. Before the middle of the fifth century, when they became established in considerable numbers in France, there had been but few in that kingdom. Not until a still later period were many found in Great Britain.

To America, North and South, they have emigrated with the other settlers from almost every country of Europe. The exact time at which the first arrived cannot be ascertained; but within a very few years after the discovery of the New World, we find them in the Spanish colonies; and, as early as 1605, an edict from France directed their expulsion from the French American settlements. In 1639, David Nasci, a Portuguese Jew, and a native of Brazil, obtained permission from the Dutch West India Company to form a Jewish colony in the island of Cayenne, with the assurance of full civil and religious liberty to the settlers. On the conquest of this island by the French, in 1664, Nasci and his followers retired to Surinam, then belonging to the English, under whose sway, and afterwards under that of Holland, they continued to enjoy every privilege, and soon became a numerous and flourishing community. The Jews were early settled in Jamaica, and there, under laws for the most part equal, though they were excluded from filling any post under government, they have increased and prospered.*

* Hannah Adams's History of the Jews, ch. xxxiv.

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